This 3” manages to squeeze six little compositions into its twenty minutes, favoring a vast and dusty folk sound emphasizing vast, wheat-filled vistas and back porch moments of tenderness. Performed and written solely by Tim Newman, who, it seems, is quite capable on a number of instruments ranging from guitar to fiddle, the album is unapologetically countrified and folky, as well as utterly sincere--this is an honest and credible approach at folk that pulls far more from Doc Watson than it does from John Fahey, albeit with a loose and spacious conception that provides it with an open outlook, a trait seen from the get-go on the roaming melancholy of “Devotional.” “Three Weeks” takes some overlapped guitar strums and picks and combines them with thumb piano for another peep over the flats in Big Sky country.
Elsewhere, “1919” represents its title well, sounding like a mix between some lush Baroque practice number and classical guitar meanderings in the vein of, well, it’s tough to say. Which is part of what keeps this all quite interesting. There remains something cinematic and rich about this stuff that, though sounding instantly familiar, is not really in the vein of a distinct approach. Alone, this seems an accomplishment. “Elastic Folk” bounds around with a piece of straw sticking out from the side of its mouth and a nice piece of tobacco packed in the lip, but it retains its recognizeability as a wholesome character. “Holes in Space” drips about in some chilly holes whose strong aural qualities keep it from feeling too despairing--this is extremely well recorded stuff, which surely adds to the complexity of its sound. The closing “Mainsail” is as simultaneously alone and content as anything else here, subtly pushing the envelope with its droned background. A fine effort, though not for everyone. Still, this is a voice that anyone into folk of any sort should give an honest chance--extremely earnest stuff, and beautiful for it. 7/10 -- Henry Smith (2 September, 2009)